Topsham adds trail plan to Town Meeting warrant

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TOPSHAM — An agreement to create a bicycle-pedestrian trail through Topsham and three other towns is a late addition to next month’s Town Meeting warrant.

The pact – which the Board of Selectmen added to the May 20 warrant last week – is with Richmond, Bowdoinham and Gardiner, Town Manager Rich Roedner said in an email April 17.

The proposed 32-mile Merrymeeting Trail would connect Gardiner’s Kennebec River Trail to Topsham’s bike path, which ultimately will connect to the Androscoggin River Pedestrian Bike Path spanning Topsham to Brunswick and Bath, according to The united links will form the Capital to the Coast trail system.

Also included in this system would be an extension to Bath, dubbed the Androscoggin to Kennebec Trail, according to the website. More than 122,000 people live within 10 miles of that system, the site notes.

“The inter-local agreement is a voluntary association of the four communities, with a goal of working together to create this new trail,” the manager said. “No town is obligated to do anything without a vote of the local legislative body. So, we are not obligated to invest funds in this project, without securing Town Meeting approval.”

The board also cannot make the town do something it does not wish to do, and will have two members from each of the four towns, Roedner said.

There is no schedule yet for creation of this off-road trail, but an on-road version has already been designated, if not signed, the manager explained. Such a project takes many years to implement, Town Planner Rod Melanson noted.

Town Meeting, where residents will also vote on a $9 million municipal budget for fiscal year 2016, will be held at the Mt. Ararat High School Commons on Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.